Six Nations

Wales name unchanged team

2015-03-10 13:45
Warren Gatland (AFP)

London - Wales will field an unchanged starting lineup for the Six Nations showdown with Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.

Coach Warren Gatland was pleased with his side's 20-13 win over France in Paris which kept alive their hopes of winning the tournament and had no problem giving the same 15 men a vote of confidence.

Flanker Sam Warburton, who went off after taking a blow to his knee during the French clash, has regained his fitness and will be able to break Ryan Jones' record when he captains Wales for the 34th time at the Millennium Stadium.

The only two changes to the Paris lineup are due to injuries and come on the bench.

Uncapped Scarlets prop Rob Evans replaces Bath loosehead Paul James, who suffered a fractured thumb during the France game, while lock Jake Ball takes over from Bradley Davies.

A win for Wales would see them stay in the Six Nations title shake-up, while Ireland are chasing a a record 11th successive Test win against all opponents, and they have only lost twice in Cardiff since 1983.

Gatland has seen his side rebound strongly from an opening day loss to England in Cardiff with wins away to both Scotland and France, and he is confident of more success in the remaining games against the Irish and away to Italy.

"We return to the Millennium Stadium after two tough away trips with two victories, and we will be looking to build on that," he said.

"We saw an improvement against Scotland, and then saw another step up against France, and we know we will need to do the same against Ireland on Saturday.

"Ireland are the form team in Europe, and we know it is going to be a huge battle. The changes on the bench mean Rob Evans gets an opportunity.

"We have been impressed with him for his region and at training, and our strength in depth in the second-row is highlighted again as Jake (Ball) comes back into the squad."

Gatland also paid tribute to his skipper Warburton ahead of his record-breaking appearance on Saturday.

"Saturday is a fantastic achievement and honour for Sam," he said.

"He has developed into the role fantastically and is a modern-day professional. He is a role model who will continue to get better."


Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Gethin Jenkins

Substitutes: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams

Ireland: TBA

Read more on:    wales  |  six nations  |  warren gatland  |  rugby

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